When a turbo'd wide-body vehicle comes along that's as clean as Richard Del Rosario's, Turbo can't take photos just anywhere. But finding a prime location to shoot a car in Los Angeles during rush hour is like trying to find a clean condom in an Amsterdam whorehouse.
Luckily for owners Richard Del Rosario and Chris McGehee, the latter of whom is the builder of this impeccable 2003 Toyota Celica you see before you, a colleague came through at the last minute with an unparalleled location. "High in the hills you must go, to a construction site where nary a building has yet to be built," he said.
He also warned us that as nice as the spot may be, it had a gate at the bottom that would be locked come dusk. Giving ourselves two hours or so to complete the shoot seemed reasonable as the sleek Celica rumbled through the open barrier.
The dirty Los Angeles light hovered over the city below. The soft, sultry rays brought out the clean lines of the Celica even more, while the completely clear background accentuated the car's muscular wide body, allowing it to ripple and flex freely, unfettered by any obtrusive objects in the background. Just as this paragraph gets caught up in the prose of the image, so were we on that clear evening.
Before we knew it, day turned to dusk and dusk turned to night. Instead of checking the gate, we decided to take a couple of night shots. By the time these delayed-exposures were finished and the B&G S3 springs back to a height accommodating enough for the L.A. freeways, that gate we had seen on the way up was closed. A big fat padlock and chain ensured it would stay that way. And there was no one in sight.
"Maybe there's still someone at the trailer," we said. A knock on the door of the office brought nothing, while a shake on the door set off the alarm. Unfortunately, the alarm didn't alert a guard with a key. It appeared Chris and I would be sleeping in the construction site. But, before building beds out of 2x4s and fiberglass insulation, we decided to look for a back way out. We came upon locked gate after locked gate, like prisoners in a darkened labyrinth with no escape.
Finally, we found an opening, but it was blocked by a 40-foot-long, 4-foot-high wall of sandbags. We started moving them. Making an opening for the chase car and the Celica took a good hour of manual labor; Chris missed supper and yours truly was late for happy hour. On the plus side, we got a hell of a workout and as usual, you dear reader, have unsurpassed impeccable images of one of the world's finest modified Toyota Celicas.
The most noticeable part of this 2003 model has to be the APR GT300 wide body. Very rarely is one of these installs seen executed with such precision. The front fenders match the front bumper almost seamlessly, as do the lionesque rear haunches. The entire musculature is covered by PPG Signal yellow paint with orange pearl. An APR front splitter complements the front fascia of the Celica when it appears in your mirror, while a rear diffuser from the same company cleans the air behind as it blows by. Both these items are carbon fiber.
Other items made from the coveted material include the canards, the bonnet and the rear-hatch handle. And the APR GTC-300 Celica spec rear spoiler is carbon as well.
Lighting up the road for those late-night treks through closed-off construction sites is a set of G-Garage HID headlights while TYC Elegante tails light up when the Toyota screeches to a halt upon finding an exit.